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Official Languages Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.))

Act current to 2024-05-01 and last amended on 2024-01-01. Previous Versions

AMENDMENTS NOT IN FORCE

  • — 2023, c. 15, s. 12

      • 12 (1) Subsection 20(1) of the Act is amended by striking out “or” at the end of paragraph (a) and by adding the following after that paragraph:

        • (a.1) the decision, order or judgment has precedential value; or

      • (2) Subsection 20(2) of the Act is replaced by the following:

        • Decisions, orders and judgments available in both official languages at different times

          (2) A decision, order or judgment issued by a federal court, including any reasons given for it, shall be issued first in one of the official languages and then, at the earliest possible time, in the other official language, with each version to be effective from the time the first version is effective, if

          • (a) it is a final decision, order or judgment that is not required under subsection (1) to be made available simultaneously in both official languages; or

          • (b) the decision, order or judgment is required to be made available simultaneously in both official languages under paragraph (1)(a) or (a.1) but the court is of the opinion that to make the decision, order or judgment, including any reasons given for it, available simultaneously in both official languages would occasion a delay prejudicial to the public interest or resulting in injustice or hardship to any party to the proceedings leading to its issuance.

  • — 2023, c. 15, s. 16

      • 16 (1) to (3) [In force]

      • (3.1) Paragraph 36(1)(c) of the Act is replaced by the following:

        • (c) ensure that, if it is appropriate in order to create a work environment that is conducive to the effective use of both official languages,

          • (i) managers and supervisors are able to communicate in both official languages with employees of the institution in carrying out their managerial or supervisory responsibilities, and

          • (ii) employees are supervised by their managers and supervisors in the official language of their choice, regardless of the linguistic identification of their position; and

      • (4) [In force]

      • (5) Section 36 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):

        • Acquired rights

          (3) Nothing in subparagraph (1)(c)(ii) abrogates or derogates from the right of a person to hold a position or carry out managerial or supervisory responsibilities in a federal institution if they held that position or carried out those responsibilities in the institution immediately before the coming into force of that subparagraph.

  • — 2023, c. 15, ss. 36(2) to (4)

      • 36 (2) Subsection 64.2(1) of the Act is amended by adding the following after paragraph (a):

        • (a.1) is not permitted to issue a notice of violation under subsection 65.6(1) in respect of any matter covered under the agreement;

      • (3) Subsection 64.5(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:

        • Commissioner’s order
          • 64.5 (1) If, after carrying out an investigation of a complaint, the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that a federal institution has contravened a duty — or violated a right — under Part IV or V or subsection 41(7) or (10) and has made recommendations under subsection 63(3) in respect of that contravention or violation, or in respect of an identical contravention of that duty or violation of that right by the institution, the Commissioner may make an order directing that institution to take any action that the Commissioner considers appropriate to rectify the contravention or violation.

      • (4) Section 64.5 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):

        • Limitation

          (2.1) Despite subsection (1), the Commissioner is not permitted to make an order under that subsection in respect of a contravention of a duty under subsection 41(7) or (10) requiring the federal institution to take a positive measure under subsection 41(5) or to include in any agreement referred to in paragraph 41(7)(a.1) provisions establishing the parties’ duties under the agreement respecting the official languages.

  • — 2023, c. 15, s. 37

    • 37 The Act is amended by adding the following after section 65:

      Administrative Monetary Penalties

      • Definitions

        65.1 The following definitions apply in sections 65.3 to 65.95 and subsection 66(3).

        designated body

        designated body means a corporation referred to in section 65.2. (organisme désigné)

        penalty

        penalty means an administrative monetary penalty imposed for a violation. (sanction)

      • Application

        65.2 Sections 65.3 to 65.95 apply to a Crown corporation — or corporation that is subject to this Act under another Act of Parliament — that

        • (a) is designated by regulation;

        • (b) has duties under Part IV;

        • (c) operates in the transportation sector; and

        • (d) engages in communications with and provides or makes available services to the travelling public.

      • Purpose of penalty

        65.3 The purpose of a penalty is to promote compliance with Part IV and not to punish.

      • Regulations
        • 65.4 (1) The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, make regulations

          • (a) designating any corporation for the purposes of section 65.2;

          • (b) designating, as a violation that may be proceeded with in accordance with sections 65.3 to 65.95, the contravention of any specified provision of Part IV or the regulations made under that Part in respect of specified communications and services or specified categories of communications and services;

          • (c) fixing a penalty, or a range of penalties, in respect of each violation;

          • (d) for the purposes of paragraph (3)(d), establishing other criteria to be considered in determining the amount of the penalty if a range of penalties is established;

          • (e) increasing the amount of the maximum penalty set out in subsection (2);

          • (f) respecting the service of documents required or authorized to be served under sections 65.3 to 65.95, including the manner and proof of service and the circumstances under which documents are to be considered to be served;

          • (g) establishing the form and content of notices of violation; and

          • (h) generally, for carrying out the purposes and provisions of sections 65.3 to 65.95.

        • Maximum penalty

          (2) Subject to regulations made under paragraph (1)(e), the maximum penalty in respect of a violation that may be fixed under regulations made under paragraph (1)(c) is $25,000.

        • Criteria — range of penalties

          (3) If a range of penalties is fixed by regulations made under paragraph (1)(c) in respect of a violation, then the Commissioner shall take into account the following criteria in determining the amount of the penalty:

          • (a) the nature and scope of the violation;

          • (b) the history of compliance, by the designated body that is believed to have committed the violation, with the provisions of Part IV and the regulations made under that Part that are designated by regulations made under paragraph (1)(b);

          • (c) the designated body’s ability to pay the penalty;

          • (d) any criteria established by regulation; and

          • (e) any other relevant criterion.

      • Violations

        65.5 Every designated body that contravenes a provision designated by regulations made under paragraph 65.4(1)(b) commits a violation and is liable to a penalty of an amount to be determined in accordance with regulations made under paragraph 65.4(1)(c) and with subsection 65.4(3).

      • Notice of violation
        • 65.6 (1) If, after carrying out an investigation of a complaint in respect of a right or duty under a provision designated by regulations made under paragraph 65.4(1)(b), the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that a designated body has committed a violation and has made a report under subsection 63(1) in respect of that violation, the Commissioner may issue a notice of violation and shall cause it to be served — along with the report and any other relevant document — on the body.

        • Limitation — compliance agreement

          (2) However, the Commissioner is not permitted to issue a notice of violation in respect of the subject-matter of a complaint unless, before issuing the notice of violation, the Commissioner invited the designated body to enter into a compliance agreement under subsection 64.1(1) in respect of that subject-matter.

        • Limitation — previous notice of violation

          (3) The Commissioner is not permitted to issue a notice of violation under subsection (1) in respect of the subject-matter of a complaint if that subject-matter has already been the subject of a notice of violation.

        • Contents

          (4) The notice of violation shall

          • (a) set out the name of the designated body that is believed to have committed the violation;

          • (b) set out the relevant facts of the violation and the provision at issue;

          • (c) set out the penalty for the violation;

          • (d) set out the manner in which the Commissioner took into account the criteria referred to in subsection 65.4(3) in determining the amount of the penalty, if a range of penalties is fixed for the violation by regulations made under paragraph 65.4(1)(c);

          • (e) inform the designated body of its right to contest the facts of the alleged violation, the penalty or both, by way of review, and specify the time within which and the manner in which to do so in accordance with section 65.9;

          • (f) inform the designated body that the penalty is to be paid within 30 business days after the day on which the notice of violation is served and specify the manner in which to do so;

          • (g) inform the designated body that, if it does not pay the penalty or exercise its right referred to in paragraph (e) within the time and in the manner set out in the notice, it will be considered to have committed the violation and that it is liable for the penalty set out in the notice; and

          • (h) set out any other information provided by regulation.

        • Limitation or prescription period

          (5) No notice of violation shall be issued in respect of a violation after the second anniversary of the day on which the Commissioner was informed of the facts of the alleged violation or the third anniversary of the day on which the facts of the alleged violation occurred, whichever is earlier.

        • Certification by Commissioner

          (6) A document appearing to have been issued by the Commissioner, certifying the day on which the Commissioner was informed of the facts of the alleged violation, is admissible in evidence without proof of the signature or official character of the person appearing to have signed the document and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is proof that the Commissioner was informed of the facts of the alleged violation on that day.

      • Payment of penalty

        65.7 If a designated body that is served with a notice of violation pays the penalty set out in the notice, it is deemed to have committed the violation and the proceedings in respect of it are ended.

      • Failure to act

        65.8 A designated body that neither pays a penalty set out in a notice of violation nor requests a review within the specified time is deemed to have committed the violation and is liable for the penalty.

      • Review by Federal Court
        • 65.9 (1) Instead of paying the penalty set out in a notice of violation, the designated body named in the notice may, within 30 business days after the day on which the notice is served and in the manner specified in the notice, apply to the Federal Court for a review of the facts of the alleged violation or of the amount of the penalty, or both.

        • De novo review

          (2) For greater certainty, an application under subsection (1) is to be heard and determined as a new proceeding.

      • Review with respect to facts
        • 65.91 (1) If a designated body applies for a review with respect to the facts of an alleged violation, then on completion of the review the Federal Court shall, subject to subsection (3),

          • (a) if it determines that the designated body committed the violation, make an order declaring that the designated body committed the violation and is liable for the penalty set out in the notice of violation; or

          • (b) if it determines that the designated body did not commit the violation, make an order declaring that the designated body did not commit the violation and is not liable for the penalty set out in the notice of violation.

        • Review with respect to penalty

          (2) If a designated body applies for a review with respect to the amount of the penalty for a violation, then on completion of the review the Federal Court shall, subject to subsection (3),

          • (a) determine the amount of the penalty in accordance with regulations made under paragraph 65.4(1)(c) and, if those regulations fix a range of penalties in respect of the violation, by taking into account the criteria referred to in subsection 65.4(3); and

          • (b) make an order declaring that the designated body is liable for a penalty of the amount that the Court determines.

        • Review with respect to facts and penalty

          (3) If a designated body applies for a review with respect to both the facts of an alleged violation and the amount of the penalty for the violation, then on completion of the review the Federal Court shall,

          • (a) if it determines that the designated body committed the violation,

            • (i) determine the amount of the penalty in accordance with regulations made under paragraph 65.4(1)(c) and, if those regulations fix a range of penalties in respect of the violation, by taking into account the criteria referred to in subsection 65.4(3), and

            • (ii) make an order declaring that the designated body committed the violation and is liable for a penalty of the amount that the Court determines; or

          • (b) if it determines that the designated body did not commit the violation, make an order declaring that the designated body did not commit the violation and is not liable for the penalty set out in the notice of violation.

      • Debt to Her Majesty
        • 65.92 (1) The following amounts are debts due to Her Majesty in right of Canada that may be recovered in the Federal Court:

          • (a) the amount of the penalty set out in a notice of violation, beginning on the day on which it is required to be paid in accordance with the notice, unless an application for review is made under section 65.9; and

          • (b) if an application for review is made under section 65.9, the amount payable under an order of the Federal Court made under paragraph 65.91(1)(a) or (2)(b) or subparagraph 65.91(3)(a)(ii), beginning on the date of the order.

        • Limitation or prescription period

          (2) Proceedings to recover a debt referred to in subsection (1) may be commenced no later than the fifth anniversary of the day on which the debt becomes payable.

        • Proceeds payable to Receiver General

          (3) A debt referred to in subsection (1) that is paid or recovered is payable to and shall be remitted to the Receiver General.

      • Certificate of default
        • 65.93 (1) The Commissioner may issue a certificate for the unpaid amount of any debt referred to in subsection 65.92(1).

        • Effect of registration

          (2) Registration of a certificate in the Federal Court has the same effect as a judgment of that Court for a debt of the amount set out in the certificate and all related registration costs.

      • Evidence

        65.94 In a proceeding in respect of a violation, a notice purporting to be served under subsection 65.6(1) is admissible in evidence without proof of the signature or official character of the person appearing to have signed it.

      • Certain defences not available
        • 65.95 (1) A designated body named in a notice of violation does not have a defence by reason that it

          • (a) exercised due diligence to prevent the violation; or

          • (b) reasonably and honestly believed in the existence of facts that, if true, would exonerate it.

        • Common law principles

          (2) Every rule and principle of the common law that renders any circumstance a justification or excuse in relation to a charge for an offence applies in respect of a violation to the extent that it is consistent with this Act.

  • — 2023, c. 15, s. 38(2)

      • 38 (2) Section 66 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):

        • Part of report — administrative monetary penalties

          (3) The Commissioner shall include, as part of the report, in respect of each designated body concerned,

          • (a) the number of notices of violation that the Commissioner issued under subsection 65.6(1);

          • (b) the relevant facts of the violations and the provisions at issue; and

          • (c) the amount of the penalties imposed, if any.

  • — 2023, c. 15, s. 39

    • 39 Paragraph 70(b) of the Act is replaced by the following:

      • (b) the powers, duties or functions set out in sections 63, 63.1, 64.1 to 69 and 78.

  • — 2023, c. 15, s. 43

      • 43 (1) Subsection 81(1) of the French version of the Act is replaced by the following:

        • Frais et dépens
          • 81 (1) Les frais et dépens afférents à tout recours exercé devant le tribunal sous le régime de la présente loi sont laissés à l’appréciation du tribunal et suivent, sauf ordonnance contraire de celui-ci, le sort du principal.

      • (2) [In force]

      • (3) Subsection 81(2) of the Act is replaced by the following:

        • Costs

          (2) If the Court is of the opinion that an application under section 65.9, 77 or 78.1 has raised an important new principle in relation to this Act, the Court shall order that costs be awarded to the applicant even if the applicant has not been successful in the result.


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